Once a month, we will be interviewing people with learning difficulties and/or autism within bemix so you can hear their stories.  This month, we hear from Carmen Cassidy.  A member of our Music, Media and Arts and Amplified projects.

Hi Carmen!  When did you join bemix?

A long time ago! When bemix was called Skillnet. I joined when Skillnet started in Canterbury.

What are your goals or dreams?

I have a dream to be an artist. I would like to use my artistic talent as a commercial or historical contemporary arts designer. 

And what are you doing to achieve that goal?

Well, I am doing an Arts and Media Level 2 Diploma at the moment with bemix. I have also recently started with our new Amplified group on a Wednesday which will help me to develop my marketing skills and talents. I also do work experience with Louise, our Director of Ethics and Communications, and get involved in making sure that our communications are accessible and easy to understand.

What you are working on at the moment in your course?

I'm writing a book. It includes my passions of history and travel. I'm also interested in medicine and religion. A lot of characters in my books have an invisible disability. 

Tell us more about the characters in your books?

A disability is unique to each person. How we cope and what we do is different for each individual. I like to include a range of characters in my books - I want people with disabilities or difficulties to know they're not alone, particularly if they have low confidence. I also include a range of religions, ethnicities and cultures. I think we do need labels [to help describe differences] but it is important that people in the community understand what those labels mean.

This is why I like bemix, it is a space where you are not on your own. The work is challenging in a good way. 

You talk a lot about diversity. How do you feel about living in a diverse world?

It is sometimes frightening because I don't always have the knowledge about other people. At the same time, sometimes having too much knowledge can also be frightening.

What is it like to do a course with bemix?

I enjoy it so much because it's not like school or college - we don't have deadlines so I can take my time to do the work.

How would you like to be seen, be heard and belong?

I would like to help and support other people with and without disabilities to be seen, heard and belong. I would also like to be seen for my work on marketing and communications. The Amplified group will help me go far.